My blog is weird

You guys see a very different side to me in comparison to what many people in my life see. My closest friends know that I am pretty…erm…odd, but my work colleagues and casual acquaintances see “professional Jane.”

Professional Jane likes pencil skirts and blazers. She eats rye crackers and discusses politics with men in suits. She analyses exam results and collates them in the form of pie charts. She attends meetings with colleagues and has an actual clipboard. Sometimes, she ties her hair up with a pencil. Yes, professional Jane is a straight-laced, no-nonsense nine to fiver.

Then there’s “crazy Jane”. Crazy Jane tries to teach her cat how to curtsy (she *almost* has it). She has an inexplicable fear of foam and waltzes with herself. She likes to not stalk her neighbours with binoculars and pretend she’s a French mime artist. She also loves wrestling and tequila (in that order). Sometimes, she likes to drive slowly beside random joggers she’s never met while playing Eye of the Tiger. She also likes to frequent karaoke bars where she can rap California Love in its entirety.

So yes, I’m weird. But I’m not always weird. I could come on here and be normal but then you guys wouldn’t be (hopefully) laughing at with me.

In case you guys are wondering, crazy Jane mostly lives in a cage while professional Jane is at work. I let her out in the evening, where she likes to dance to Abba and blog. Crazy Jane sure loves to blog. She also loves talking to all her fellow weirdos and sending them virtual cake. She is uncomfortable with referring to herself in the third person so she’s going to stop now and knit some tea cosies even though she doesn’t have a tea pot. Sinister.

An Engagement Ring Doesn’t Mean Someone Owns Me

As some of you may know, I recently became engaged. While I’m very excited by the prospect of marrying the man my mother bribed I love, I must say that my relationship hasn’t really changed in any significant way. My boyfriend and I met when I was fifteen, and started a relationship soon after my sixteenth birthday. We have lived together for ten years. We have been talking about marriage and babies and station wagons for a long time now. We even have a little pet family together. So no, engagement didn’t change a whole lot. It just made our decision to marry ‘official’, I suppose. You might wonder what the biggest difference between pre-engagement and post-engagement me is; well, the answer is simple: A ring.

Wait...that's an impractical metal glove...which also would have been okay

Wait…that’s an impractical metal glove…which also would have been okay

For oft when on my couch I lie, in vacant or in pensive mood, I often think about what my engagement ring actually means. (Yes, half of that sentence plagiarises Wordsworth, guess which half?) When we got engaged, there was no real fanfare. For a few months beforehand, we had discussed what we both wanted in a wedding ceremony, even discussing venues. When I told my sister this, she got excited. She stated that this meant we were engaged, I wasn’t so sure. Yes, we had talked marriage, and even set a preliminary date but my partner hadn’t actually proposed. And there was no ring. When I pointed this out to my sister, she laughed.

‘Since when do you care about stuff like that?’ she asked me, bemused. She was right to be confused. I have never been a big fan of grand romantic gestures nor have I ever been a fan of (ladies, please forgive me for this) jewellery. I never wear any, despite making a valiant effort during my teen years in order to fit in with my decidedly stylish peers. I shun all types of bejewelled décor, especially rings. I have always found them uncomfortable and constrictive.

I decided to talk to my partner about it all. Not wanting to complicate things any more than they already were, I asked him straight: ‘are we getting married?’

‘Yes, of course,’ was his answer.

‘Then, are we engaged?’  I felt like a fifteen year old girl asking her date if they were going steady. My boyfriend’s response surprised me. He shook his head.

‘Well, no, not yet because I haven’t gotten you a ring. So it’s probably going to take a while because I’m saving up.’

‘Saving up?’ I was confused. My boyfriend is well aware of my ambiguous feelings towards rings. ‘Why do you need to save up?’

‘Well, everyone knows you have to buy a girl a diamond and that you have to spend three months wages on it.’ I have known Jack a long time, and I’ll bet that this is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard him say.  I proceeded to launch into a big speech about how I didn’t care if I had to wear an onion ring, that I’m not that kind of girl and that I was disappointed that he would think that I was. I told him that I wasn’t even sure I wanted a ring at all. He remained calm, as usual, and responded:

‘I don’t want you to have any regrets. It’s so easy to say that you don’t want a ring because you think that it’s the “right” thing to say, but it’s okay to want a ring. It doesn’t make you materialistic.’ Then he asked me to think about it.

And I did.  I realised that Jack is a proud person. The macho part of him wanted to give me an expensive ring because he wanted to feel worthy. He erroneously assumed that I would want some beautiful bling to show off. And I understood that, even if I didn’t agree with it. Begrudgingly, I realised that deep down, I probably did want a ring, as much as I hated to admit it at first. I don’t call myself a feminist. I call myself an egalitarian. Our relationship has always reflected this. I have been told by friends and family that I have a “role” to fulfil as a woman. I have seen the shock on relatives’ faces when I tell them that I do not do my boyfriend’s laundry, nor do I do all the cooking. I have never believed that, as a woman, I have a pre-defined role in our relationship. Likewise, I don’t believe that Jack does. We are equal partners. So how could the strong, independent side of me be reconciled with the side of me that wanted to wear an engagement ring, essentially branding me as someone else’s betrothed? I remembered the words in a great poem, Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers, by Adrienne Rich:

The Massive weight of Uncle’s wedding band/sits heavily upon Aunt Jennifer’s hand.

When Aunt is dead, her terrified hands will lie/Still ringed with ordeals she was mastered by.

Is that what engagement and wedding rings symbolise? Confinement? Submission? I loathed that thought.

I thought about the history of the engagement ring, and its traditional significance. I wanted to know why on earth my usually level-headed boyfriend would think I desire an expensive diamond. My initial research didn’t do much to assuage my doubts. Going back as far as Roman times (and possibly even earlier), the ring was seen as signifying the binding legal agreement of the male’s ownership of the woman. Hundreds of years later, the engagement ring also becomes something akin to insurance for an aristocratic bride to be. If an engagement broke, the female would be missing out on assured financial security for life, so she was allowed to keep the valuable piece of jewellery. Of course, I know that none of this is applicable or even relevant to my life. Our engagement would not be a business deal. There would be no dowry or contracts drawn up. If I was to wear a ring, it would have to symbolise something far more romantic than insurance or ownership. My dad can keep his livestock.


So what else could an engagement ring symbolise? Yes, it demonstrates one’s intention to marry. But is there a deeper meaning that goes beyond practicality? There were some romantic accounts on the engagement ring’s history, such as why it is worn on the left ring finger (due to the supposed ancient belief that a vein in the left finger, the so-called vena amoris, connected directly to the heart) although it was hard to distinguish which of these accounts were actually factual.  Of course the engagement ring wasn’t always made from a valuable metal and did have symbolic meaning throughout antiquity and beyond.  So that helps.

I was left wondering why I really wanted to wear one, especially since I have never worn a ring in my entire life. You might think I was over-thinking this, and you’d be right. I was. But an engagement ring is an important purchase. I needed to be sure about it. I wanted to be able to look at it without seeing it as something that compromised my independence.

And then something bizarre happened. I worked on a staff of predominantly female teachers. All of a sudden, five of them got engaged. For weeks, there was constant squealing and fawning in the staff room and I have to admit, it was contagious. My colleagues’ rings were beautiful. I started to imagine what it would be like to wear something so attractive. Then, one evening, one of my newly engaged colleagues had stayed behind to correct homework with me. Admiring her ring for the hundredth time, I asked her what the ring meant to her. It was certainly unusual, but stunning.  I know it’s a personal question, but I really wanted to know. She told me that the ring hadn’t been very expensive, but that her fiancé had seen it a long time ago, in an antique store and had always imagined giving it to someone as an engagement ring one day. She said that he kept it through all the difficult times in his life, firmly believing that someday, all would be okay, as long as the right person was wearing that ring. To her, it symbolised their search for each other. She felt that she had been moving towards him, and that ring, all her life. She finished by saying ‘it was mine before I even knew him.’ Granted, to some of you, that’s cheese on toast with a side of jazz hands, but she told it with such sincerity and conviction, that I couldn’t help but be touched. I realised that I had been judgemental.

I suddenly saw engagement rings in a whole different light. They didn’t have to be archaic symbols of dominance or ownership. And even if some girls derive a feeling of security from that, who am I to judge?

 I realised that every ring has a different story, a different meaning, for every wearer. It is up to you to choose that meaning.

I know that this might seem obvious to everyone, but I had never really put much thought into engagement rings before and had always assumed that they were merely superficial. I bounced in the door that evening to my boyfriend, proclaiming that I was the luckiest person in the world to have someone who put up with my constant analysing and over-thinking, and that I would be grateful for whatever ring he chose. But we had to be sensible. We aren’t financially secure. For me, it would have been madness to spend thousands on a ring when I would be just as happy with one that didn’t make my finger go green. Jack took a little convincing. He told me he had read forums where women had said things like ‘I would dump a guy if he gave me less than a carat’ or ‘I would be embarrassed to wear a cheap ring.’ We both sat down, as he showed me questions on wedding forums from guys that were along the lines of ‘I only have $3000 to spend, is that enough?’ I have never seen Jack be influenced by societal pressure (the guy dances, in public, to The Spice Girls) but he seemed particularly stressed out.

‘Diamonds are expensive,’ he sighed, as I tried to assure him that I didn’t want a diamond. We argued back and forth. He told me that ‘diamonds are a girl’s best friend’, I told him that he’d obviously never tried chocolate. He pointed out that in many episodes of my guilty pleasure, trash TV show, The Real Housewives of Atlanta; I had witnessed the women brag about their expensive diamond rings. Yes Jack, I base all my life expectations on contrived and structured reality TV *rolls eyes forever*

I explained that through my extensive (one hour) research (and that was in between episodes of The Big Bang Theory) that the first recorded person to give a diamond engagement ring to his betrothed was Archduke Maximillian of Austria to Mary of Burgundy, but that the modern usage of the diamond as the most popular engagement stone seems to stem from a very shrewd DeBeers’ marketing campaign in the first half of the twentieth century, when they promoted the slogan ‘diamonds are forever.’ Diamonds are nice, but I didn’t want a diamond engagement ring. Given our financial status, it made no sense to spend money on something I don’t feel passionate about. If you genuinely love diamonds, and jewellery, that’s another matter altogether. He worried about the constant judgement I would face from people when they asked to see my ring. I told him that the most important thing was that the ring meant something personal to us, and that I really don’t mind if other people don’t like it. I don’t even mean that in a defensive way, everyone has different opinions and I respect that. Maybe just don’t say it out loud though.


We chose the ring together. If I’m being completely honest (and I always am with you guys), I feel like the whole furore over the ring made the actual engagement slightly anti-climactic. We over-thought it: me, because I worried about what a ring ultimately symbolised and Jack because he thought that it had to be diamond and platinum and unicorn ivory horn. We did face a lot of questions from relatives about the ring, especially when they realised that it wasn’t going to be diamond. When we finally picked one out, it was weeks later. I sometimes wonder if I should have just kept my mouth shut and went along with Jack, but I know that we’d probably be living in a tenement and sharing a bathroom with a family of ten (at least, that’s what’s happening in my imagination). I’m grateful to have someone who wants the best for me, and so I wanted to alleviate that pressure that society had put on him, as a man, to provide something that was, at that time, unobtainable. I wasn’t making a sacrifice, or pretending that I didn’t want an expensive diamond for his benefit. I genuinely didn’t. In the end, we let the ring overshadow the most important fact of all: that someday, soon, we will be man and wife and he has to put up with me singing in the car for all eternity.

So why have I written this? Well, I suppose I thought of all the Jacks out there who are panicking and conducting internet research on the possibility of selling their eyeballs to afford a pricy ring and I felt bad for them. Is it true that, to paraphrase the wise (rolling eyes) Kim Zolciak, the ring doesn’t mean a thing? Not entirely. It should mean something, otherwise why wear it? Rings have long been a symbol of eternal love, fidelity, trust, strength…but the truth is, they can symbolise whatever you want them to. Does a sparkly diamond have to be the only symbol significant enough to demonstrate your eternal bond to one another? Why don’t you ask Kim Kardashian’s ex-husband, Kris Humphries? (Yep, I went there.) He bought Kim a diamond ring that set him back TWO MILLION DOLLARS. And their marriage? It lasted 72 days. I’ve had pen pals that I’ve committed to for longer than that. You shouldn’t have to spend thousands on a ring to prove to someone that you love them, and they shouldn’t expect you to. I think it’s important that I add: if you both want to spend thousands on a diamond and an expensive ring means something to both of you, then I’m not going to judge; that’s your business. I know plenty of women whose rings are worth more than my car (though that’s not saying much) and I don’t begrudge them. If it makes them happy, then where’s the harm? It goes both ways, too. I would hate for anyone to think that my decision to wear a ring somehow makes me less of an independent and progressive woman. For me, it symbolises many things. Submission is not one of those things.

So what about my ring? I love it. I love it because Jack gave it to me. I love it because it reminds me that I’m marrying him. I love it because I will wear it for the rest of my life. And most of all, I love it because it reminds me that even when we didn’t have much; we never for a second doubted our commitment to each other.

Working Nine to Never

‘ello everyone! (I do a great Cockney accent, right?)

I wish I could say that it’s been forever because I’ve been super busy but that would be a lie. And I don’t like lies. Or raisins. But mostly lies.

Some of you may know that I’m a teacher. The problem is, in Ireland, there is a huge over-supply of teachers, particularly for the subjects I teach. So despite applying for virtually every job I could, attending interviews for miles around and dazzling everyone with my impressive blazer collection, I failed to secure a job. I know right? This bastion of maturity and dependability failed to prove as much at interview…okay, you can stop laughing now. At least I didn’t do this: I don’t wear velour to all my interviews.

So now I’m unemployed…and I have to say:

Don’t worry, I’m not going to write a self-pitying post about how bored and disillusioned I am with life. Nope. Not me. I am totally and most definitely not crying into a bott- er, glass of wine right now which I could totally be drinking because I have no job to get up for. See, I told you guys..

Right now, I’m weighing up my options. I could have pizza, but…OH RIGHT, I was talking about my current (un)employment status. I do have a few options, but I’m kinda in a bit of an inbetween place. You may assume that with all the free time I have, that I would be spending it in the most productive way possible. And you’d be right, I am. Here’s what I did this week:

-I beat my high score in Candy Crush Saga. #winning
-I trimmed my guinea pigs’ nails.
-I invented a drink called wineka. It’s one part wine, one part vodka, and three parts bad decisions.
-I learned to tell the difference between navy and very very very very dark blue.

So, you know, I….OKAY. OKAY, I have been so unproductive that my picture is probably hanging in a North Korean factory to warn workers about what happens when you slack off. I imagine it looks something like this:

You know...if I was a cat.

You know…if I was a cat.


I have learned that I become seriously unmotivated when I’m not working. It’s probably just a confidence thing. This may sound a little arrogant, but I had fully expected that I would have a permanent job by now. I have worked non-stop as a teacher since I qualified and I have built up great experience. I went to university for five years to get as many relevant qualifications as I could. I began my career five years ago and still…nothing. Yes, I remember that I said I wouldn’t start to feel sorry for myself, so I’ll just say this: when you know you’re good enough but no one will give you the opportunity to show it, it sucks. It really, REALLY does. Gah, I’ll shut up now.

I guess what I need to do is just (as us Irish would say) cop onto myself, which basically means buck up, get back on the horse, stop whinging. I know that nothing good can come from wallowing in self pity, except for me getting to type the word ‘wallowing’, which is always fun. I am still applying for work and considering going back to do some further study to sex up my CV a little. If none of that pans out, then there’s always the circus. *awkward, nervous laugh*

Anyway, it’s been a while guys! Come and tell me how all of you are doing, and if any of you need a court jester or professional cat dance trainer, call me. *Kidding….kinda*

Awards and 1,000 followers! 

Heyeveryoneohmyit’sbeenforeverrrr! Okay, I may have had a few (read: six) Red Bulls just to summon up the energy to write this post because it is going to be looooong. I have so much to share with you guys! I’m just going to start doing lunges as I write this because I HAVE ALL THE ENERGY NOW. 

So, firstly, sorry for the insanely long absence but my life has been crazy. My sister got married in June, and then one of my best friends got married a week later. I was bridesmaid for my best friend’s wedding, which basically meant I got to wear as much makeup as Ru Paul and no one could say anything.  

Look how awkward I look, like “is my face melting? I feel like it’s melting…”

So I was gone for pretty much all of June. Besides all of that, my car broke down and was gone for two months, I got a terrible kidney infection and…OH, OH…(sorry, I just remembered), I chopped TEN INCHES off my hair. I know this might not sound like a big deal but I have always worn my hair extremely long (think Rapunzel with hair extensions) so this was a HUUUUGE step for me. What do you guys think? 


Note: The books aren’t mine…I’m not that smart

Ok, so it’s not exactly a pixie cut, but it was a very dramatic change for me and I have to say, I really prefer it. 

Aaaanyway, beside all my hair drama, I had a lot of personal family drama too. Ugh. I don’t really think it would be appropriate to discuss it here, but it has taken its toll on me and I’ve kinda been wallowing in self pity (and wine) for the last few weeks too. Today, I felt like posting a blog and reconnecting will all of you, so here’s some virtual Oreos and milk. LET’S DO THIS THING. 

Firstly, I must accept some awards. I also have to do some challenges (insert “challenge accepted” Barney Stinson quote) but I figure I should leave those for another day because this post is already getting a little:

The wonderful Erika Kind nominated me for….

FOUR AWARDS. I feel like this right now:


And Tina’s only got 3…pfft


I have to say, Erika is one of the most uplifting and positive people I have ever met here in the blogosphere. She is so kind and encouraging and I’m really glad to have met you, Erika. Please go check her out guys, she is really wonderful to connect with.
And so….*exaggerated drum roll*

The first award is The Encouraging Thunder Award. I already love the sound of this. *da da da da da da da da THUN-DER!* 

Here are the rules I must abide by: (and woah that sounded intense) 

 What you can do with the award?
Post it on your blog
Grant other bloggers with the award

What you can’t do with the award?

Abuse or misuse the logo
Claim that it’s your own handmade logo

What you should do after receiving award:

Enjoy the award
At least give thanks via comments and likes and/or mentioning the blog who gave the award.

Mention your purpose in blogging

If there is a copy and paste award out there, I’m all over it because I totally just copied this from Erika’s post. Or c’d and p’d it to use our professional term which I didn’t just make up. 

Okay, so my first task is to discuss my purpose in blogging. 

Well, to be honest, I never really thought about that until now. I set up this blog at the suggestion of my partner who noticed that I was finding my summer holidays a little tedious. Since starting this blog two years ago, I have come into contact with some of the kindest, funniest and most talented people and I am so grateful for that. I suppose you could say that my purpose was to create a place that I could visit when I felt a little blue, a place that would either allow me to offload my problems, or to have a silly chat with a stranger and cheer me up. And that’s exactly what has happened. The thing is, I never thought about followers or any of that jazz, but now that I have over 1000 of you, I feel really really lucky. If my posts even make one or two of you smile from time to time, then that’s as noble a purpose as one could wish for. 

And now for some nominees: 

Okay, I’m going to choose two bloggers who always put a smile on my face when I talk to them and read their blogs: (btw, I smile when I talk to all of you, just in case you are all planning to send me shrivelled up raisins in the mail…I hate raisins.)

Spence’s Girl
Apricots and Cream
No pressure to accept ladies but just a reminder that I think you’re both awesome :) 

The next award is the Beautiful Bloggers Award  

Let’s copy and paste some rules again, OH YEAH! 

  • Link to the blogger who took the time to nominate you.
  • List seven random things about yourself.
  • Nominate seven creative, beautiful bloggers.
  • Notify the amazing people who you nominated for the award.

So again, Erika nominate me because she is amazing and has great taste and accepts bribes (hahahaha, not really, ahem hem hem). 

Okay, by now I’ve shared so many of these facts that you guys almost know my bra size (we’re not quite there yet) so I’ll try to keep these fresh:

1. I was obsessed with the New Horizons flyby. It was like all my Christmases come at once.  

2. My sister asked me to pick a song for her to walk up the aisle to. I picked a song that is super cliched in a lot of ways, but the words were perfect for her and her husband. 

*bursts into tears*

3. At my best friend’s wedding, Jack and I may have had a little wine and had a dance off, air-guitared our way through two AC/DC songs and led everyone in a very drunken can-can dance. I also ate cake at four o clock in the morning and destroyed my face with the dyed icing. Classy.

4. I finally got my engagement ring. Here she is:

Yeah, you’re not getting a picture of my ugly hands because man, they are uuuuuugly.

These two agree…

Okay, they’re not that bad but they’re not as pretty as daisies. Yay for daisies. 

5. If you haven’t yet read Harper Lee’s long-awaited novel, Go Set a Watchman, maybe skip this because there be spoilers ahead, matey. If you guys read a recent(ish) post of mine, you’ll have seen that my literary hero is none other than Atticus Finch. In To Kill a Mockingbird, Atticus is tolerant, wise and attempts to teach his children to recognise right from wrong and to learn the value of empathy. In the latest novel, Atticus is a rampant racist. It hurt right in my heart. The only thing is, GSAW was ever meant as a sequel to TKAM, but was actually an alternate draft of the novel. I know that Lee’s family did not want it published and now I can see why. 

6. My cat can legitimately throw me dirty looks:


7. Here is a photo of me in primary school. If you can guess which one I am, I will give you all the invisible cookies:   

Also, the bride that I was bridesmaid for is in this photo, as is my BFF that I talk to every day for hours on the phone. Everyone saw “awwww”. 

Now onto my nominees for this award: 

Inside the Life of Moi

Rae of Sparkles

Self-inflicted Drama

The V-Pub

Tropical Affair
Okay, so I know it said seven but I’m being all: 


Woo, the Red Bull is holding out well and I’ve only had two questionable cardiac episodes so let’s keep going… 

The next award is……

The Creative Blogger Award


I love receiving this award because I have never considered myself particularly creative. Any who, I have accepted this award before and so I would probably be repeating myself (as well as my facts…which just autocorrected to “haggis”…moving on), so I’ll just say a huge thank you to Erika again! Actually, you guys should check out her post for this award BECAUSE SHE HOLDS A FREAKIN’ TARANTULA. Here it is

I will say that there are so many of you out there whose creativity inspires me every day, whether you’re musical like Rob, a fantastic writer like Trent, or Amanda, a wordsmith like Cheryl or Melanie, a beauty guru like Karen, a film buff like Mikey or V, an animal lover like Cats at the Bar or someone inspirational and uplifting like Erika, you continue to astound me with your collective knowledge and talent. I say talent because you all have so much to offer your readers and I really do appreciate it. Obviously these aren’t the only bloggers that I admire but if I had to list you all out, I would probably get arthritis and collapse. Probably. 

Ooookaaaay. The last award from Erika is the Versatile Blogger Award, which I have also accepted before but am very grateful for. Ah, look at it. 


Almost as nice as a shrubbery…random Monty Python reference of the day…

For this award, I am going to state five facts, only one of which is true. If you can guess which one, the award is yours. 

1. I once stole a boa constrictor from around the neck of a circus performer and ran about twenty metres before I was spear tackled to the ground. The snake was uninjured.

2.  The only time I ever drank whiskey, I threw a bottle of coke at a cop.
3. I once did an impression of Al Pacino to a bar full of people and got served free shots all night.

4. My middle name is Muriel. 

5. My mother was a hamster and my father smelled of elderberries. 

So, if you guess correctly, YOU GET AN AWARD! That so needs to go on your résumé. 

Finally, the brilliant Rob from The V-Pub has nominated me for the Infinity Dreams Award. His post on this is amazing, read it here

The rules for this award are as follows: 

1. Thank and follow the blog that nominated you.

2. Tell us 7 dreams of yours.

3. Nominate bloggers.

Thanks a million times to Rob! Here are seven dreams of mine:

1. Although I have loved teaching, my heart has always been in criminology. I have always had a huge interest in it, but when I was finishing school, there was nowhere in Ireland to actually study it. Maybe someday I will return to university to study it and become this guy:

2. I would love humans to discover life on another planet/moon in my lifetime. I would also love to see us conquer interstellar travel, but I fear that it may be a long way off.  

3. I want to travel around the U.S., mostly because I’ve never been.  

4. Someday, I want to own my own home, be happily married to Jack and have children. It might seem simple, but it also seems a long way off for us at the moment.  

5. I want to make a difference to the world. No matter how small or seemingly inconsequential, I want to have contributed something. I have no idea  what that might be just yet. 

6. I would someday love to own a corgi.  


7. I would love to someday be free from anxiety and stress. I would love to be able to put my head down on my pillow at night and just drift into a peaceful, restful slumber. My dream is that someday, at some point in my life, I will realise that the anxiety was never worth it. I’m just not quite there yet. 

Most of all, I want to be able to look back and think “yeah, I did pretty good.”

And my nominees: 

Not Quite London 

Delirious Antidotes

Sorry I haven’t nominated more guys, but I’ve been off the radar for a while! If you want to take part, please just go on ahead! 

Anyway, I’m going to finish off by saying a HUUUUGE thank you to everyone who follows, likes and comments on my posts. I recently hit 1,000 followers which made me feel so special and loved (take that, traumatic childhood…just kidding, kinda). 

My blog also just turned two years old, and it’s just crazy that I’ve managed to hang on to it for this length of time. My attention span is usually so- SQUIRREL! 

So genuinely, from the bottom of my very weird heart, thank you all for always been patient and kind to me. You are all magical angel dolphins, which are totally a thing. 

I know, I know… I did it again….

…you know, that thing I do where I disappear for a while. One of these days, Kathy Bates is going to kidnap me and force me to write blog posts (if you do not get that reference, I can’t really help you, but I can give you cake. Here you go). 

So I’m going to have a mega post coming up soon which you can either read, or not read and do something more constructive with your time (may I suggest prank phone calls?). It’s your call.

Anywho, for now, I’m just checking in, saying hello and reassuring you all that I’m still very much alive and my brain is still sending me weird thoughts, like, can giraffes drink coffee? Because I would imagine it would get pretty cold by the time it reaches their stomach? Great, now I’m not going to sleep tonight. 

In summary, I have missed you all and we’ll have lots of chats real soon 💙💜❤️

Freestyle Writing Challenge

     My topic: The best quality that you possess

I find writing things like this very difficult. I am quite a self-deprecating person and I find it hard to take compliments so writing a post about my best quality is quite difficult for me, but I shall try! 

I try my best to be a compassionate person. When other people criticise someone, I am usually the one defending them, even if that person happens to be in the wrong. I am a big believer in forgiveness as I feel that holding on to negative feelings only causes harm in the long run. When someone in my family or one of my friends is arguing with someone, I will always be the one to play devil’s advocate. I will pose questions that I hope will get them to consider the motives of the other person and prompt them to consider that maybe something caused the other person to behave in such a way. I am not saying that I defend people who are malicious or evil, I just think it’s important that we don’t jump to conclusions about a person’s intent or motive. I suppose I aim to be just like my favourite literary character, Atticus Finch, in that I aim to show empathy and understanding for others. And that’s my best quality, I think. I try to climb into someone else’s skin and walk around in it..in an Atticus Finch kind of way, not a Buffalo Bill in Silence of the Lambs kind of way.

Words: 249 in ten minutes 

So in case you guys are wondering what the heck I’m on about, I was invited by the wonderful Spence’s Girl to take part in a free style writing challenge. Here are the rules that I have copy and pasted from her blog:

Open an MS Word document (or Pages)

1. Set a stop watch or your mobile to 5 minutes or 10 minutes whichever challenge you think you can beat. 

2. Your topic is at the foot of this post BUT DO NOT SCROLL DOWN TO SEE IT UNTIL YOU ARE READY WITH A TIMER.

3. Fill the word doc with as many words as you want. Once you began writing do not stop even to turn.

4. Do not cheat by going back and correcting spellings and grammar with spell check in MS WORD (it is only meant for you to reflect on your own control of sensible thought flow and for you to reflect on your ability to write the right spelling and stick to grammar rules)

5. You may or may not pay attention to punctuation and capitals. However, if you do, it would be best.

6. At the end of your post write down ‘No. Of words =_____’ so that we would have an idea of how much you can write within the time frame.

7. Do not forget to copy paste the entire passage on your blog post with a new Topic for your nominees and copy paste these rules with your nominations (at least 5 bloggers).

Now, as usual, I’m going to cheat a little here. I think this is such a great challenge, and very liberating, so I would like everyone to do it! Yes, that’s right, all of you! If you are reading this and you’re thinking “hey, that seems like something I’d like to do” then I’d be delighted if you would go right ahead and doooo iiiiit! Just let me know in the comments if you are going to partake. It was a lot of fun. 

And your topic?


You can’t look…

…just yet….

You have to be ready to write….

….the minute you see it….

…so without further ado….

Your topic is…..

What is your favourite memory? 



P.S. Those of you who have kindly nominated me for awards (you beauties!), I have not forgotten 😘 I am on it like a car bonnet. Or a pepperoni pizza. 

The Duplicity of Facebook

We’ve all been there. You’re scrolling through your Facebook feed when suddenly you see an update from someone you went to school with. You haven’t seen the person in years, but you used to be quite friendly. They have uploaded yet another snapshot of their seemingly perfect life; this time, they are in Australia. A few weeks ago, it was Thailand. They stand looking at the camera; tanned, smiling, content. You feel that familiar pang of….something. Envy? Maybe a little. Regret? Perhaps. You’re sitting in bed and it’s raining outside. Why did you not travel? But there’s a more apt word to describe how Facebook makes you feel….


Facebook has made me feel inadequate on numerous occasions and I hate that it has. I wish that I could have risen above such petty and unnecessary feelings, but it can be tough when you are experiencing difficulty in your own life. 

Facebook is a strange place. I am Facebook “friends” with my real life, close friends. I have also been Facebook “friends” with people that I have a very tenuous association with in real life; that girl I met in a bathroom once in 2012, a guy that was friends with my secondary school best friend, the woman who used to groom my dog, and several people that I haven’t seen in person in years. To be honest, the majority of my Facebook friends are people I don’t know all that well. It is made up of people from my past, girls that I went to school with whom I have inevitably compared myself to from time to time. 



Most of the time, I am happy with my life. I am proud of my achievements, I have wonderful friends and a great fiancé. But when I logged onto Facebook, I started to question all of this. Niggling doubts started to creep into my mind, and that old feeling of inadequacy came back. My friend from secondary school has a great job and is making double what I do. My other friend just swam with dolphins in Miami. My old coworkers just all went on a weekend trip to London. My old best friend is insanely popular and gets an average 200 “likes” per status update. My childhood neighbour is out every weekend, posing for photos with different people each time. They all seem to live lives that are more exciting, more successful and more fulfilled than mine. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not some jealous psycho buried in a sea of Doritos and cyber-stalking my friends. I don’t resent any of them their happiness or success. I just often felt a little…


I didn’t swim with dolphins, or lie on beach in Australia watching the sun set, or lick tequila from the belly button of a Tahitian stripper. Most of the time, I’m sitting on my sofa, with a fleece blanket and my cat, by the light of a lavender scented candle (strawberry if I’m feeling adventurous).


We’re not even this cool…

I started to actively avoid Facebook. I noticed that it was actually affecting my mood. And it seems I’m not alone. A 2013 study showed that one in three people felt worse after logging on and scrolling through their newsfeed, and they also felt more unhappy and dissatisfied with their own lives. 

That’s a whole lot of unhappy people, right? Well the good news is, for me at least, I have been able to let most of the inadequacy and envy go. I can now log on to Facebook and feel okay. I mean, I’ll never feel amazing because there’s always some duck face selfie to make me want to jump off the planet but I don’t feel like crying into my Doritos (er, I mean, kale salad) anymore. 

But Jane, how did you achieve such inner peace and self-acceptance? 

Well, since you didn’t ask….

I didn’t. 

I still have doubts and insecurites, but I’ve come to realise that so does everyone else. 

Including my seemingly perfect Facebook friends. 

To show you what I’m talking about, I shall tell you a little story. I went to school with a girl, we’ll call her Rachel. Rachel has always been a bit of a character; she’s spontaneous, wild, unpredictable. A few years ago, she left a very good job here to go and live in Australia, alone. I remember the admiration I had for her decision; I would never be able to do it. Her Facebook page was full of wonderful pictures. She appeared to be having the time of her life, and I used to breathe a wistful sigh of envy as I looked through her photos. One day, I got talking to her mother, whom I met in the supermarket. I asked about Rachel, and told her that it seemed that she was living the dream. Her mother looked confused. She told me that Rachel was calling her everyday, crying down the phone. Rachel was lonely, homesick and hating her experience over there, she told me. She desperately wanted to come home but was too embarrassed to admit it to everyone on Facebook. You might think that I felt some sense of relief, but I didn’t. I pitied Rachel. She had been a great friend of mine and I hated thinking of her in a far away place, lonely and full of regret. I got talking to her (privately) on Facebook, and she told me that she was crying herself to sleep every night. I convinced her to come home, and she’s been better since she did.  



The Rachel situation taught me a lot. I realised that there’s a reason that some people constantly post about their seemingly wonderful lives on Facebook. It’s not always to brag or to be smug. These people are often very insecure and unhappy. Their posts and pictures scream LOOK AT HOW GREAT MY LIFE IS….NO REALLY, IT’S GREAT. They often have an emptiness or a void in real life, and being accepted or envied on Facebook is what they hope will fill it. It is very easy to convince people that you have an amazing life. A post about a party here, a picture of you at the beach there, and hey presto, your life is amazing. I don’t want to come across as cynical or bitter; not everyone who posts pictures of their holidays or nights out is making a statement and let’s be honest, we all do it at some stage. But we do all have that friend (or friends) whose Facebook page is a collection of smug gym selfies, condescending quotes about happiness, constant exotic location snaps and check-ins at all kinds of bars and fancy hotels. I realise that I’m probably not doing a great job of convincing you that I’ve let the envy go, but I have. I’ve figured out that on Facebook especially, appearances are very deceptive. Not everyone is as happy or fun as they are letting on. Your friends are sharing with you what they choose to share. You don’t see the struggles, the tears, the fights. But they are there, just like yours are too. 


Finally, I have learned to stop constantly comparing myself to my Facebook friends. Despite the fact that I don’t intimately know all of them, I genuinely wish them well. They are on different life paths to me, and we have different life goals. While it’s natural to experience envy from time to time, it’s ultimately damaging to let it consume you. Facebook is probably the biggest source of resentment and envy for many people, so remembering that there are stories and a deeper truth behind all those posts and pictures is very important. 

So take that, inadequacy. I am perfectly adequate. Except when it comes to complex maths but…


Two Challenges, oh yeeeah! 

The lovely Cheryl over at Tropical Affair nominated me to take part in the Love in Ten Lines challenge. I say challenge because this: 

All of this…

I sat down to do this challenge thibking “pfft, I got this.” Cheryl’s genius post made it look so easy. I forgot that she is a skilled poet and I struggle to make word good sound nice. See? Check out her lovely poem at the link above.

The challenge is to write ten lines of poetry, with four words in each line, all including the word love. It sounds deceptively easy. Just as I was about to hit publish on my “I love Nutella sandwiches X 10” post, I saw that the lovely Mecia Not Quite London from had nominated for the Love/Hate tag. You are supposed to write down ten things you love and ten that you hate. Simples. That when this happened:

Why don’t I just combine both challenges? I can write ten things I love using four words per line. Ah, being a genius, it’s not always easy.

So here goes:

I love red lipstick

I love milk chocolate

I love my fiancé

I love my pets

I love scented candles

I love being weird

I love to laugh

I love warm cuddles

I love being outside

I love funny people 

Okay, so not exactly W.B. Yeats material but it will do. Now I’d better list what I hate:

  • Rude people
  • Standing still for too long
  • Stubbornness
  • Raisins
  • Animal cruelty
  • Crowds
  • Being separated from those I love 
  • Doubt 
  • Being misunderstood 
  • Waiting for too long 

So, just because I cheated doesn’t mean you guys have to 😄

The first challenge is the Ten Line Poetry competition and I have plenty of poetically-gifted friends who will smash this! Just to recap the rules:

-you must compose a ten line long poem with four words in each line, one to be the word “love”. It’s, er, not that difficult. 

I nominate the wonderfully talented Melanie over at Wordifull

The very creative David from toofulltowrite

And the brilliant Floridaborne over at Two on a Rant

If anyone can do this, they can! Although there’s no pressure to partake guys. 

Next, I need to nominate some people for the Love/Hate tag. It’s simple: you basically list ten things you hate, ten things you love and then choose ten bloggers to do the same. That I can do. 

My nominees are: 

I Prefer Deep Blues and Sea Foam Greens
Mother Hen Diaries
A Cookbook Collection
Tropical Affair (gotta return the love😃)
The V-pub

Post Curfew Bewonderments 

Again, no pressure to take part guys! Have a great day, wherever you are! 

The Hot Seat: Meet Amanda

Hello again m’dears. I am so excited to announce that this week, I shall be interviewing a lady that needs no introduction (except this one), the fabulous Amanda Lyle from Inside the Life of Moi, a fantastic blog that demonstrates Amanda’s considerable writing talents. Don’t just take my word for it; have a read of her brilliantly entertaining interview below and then check out her insanely addictive blog!

Over to you, Amanda!


 *Pours glass of wine and slips into the hot seat, surprised that it isn’t as hot as it suggests, and she didn’t need that ice pack, after all*


Hi Amanda! Why don’t you tell my readers a little about yourself…without using the letter ‘e’. I’m kidding, go e-nuts!

Alrighteeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! (<- enough e for you?) Where do I start? I am a 21-year-old (one can wish) 28-year-old with a fondness for happy dancing, biscuit dunking, photography and all things 90’s (Lycra included!). I am also a mother of three sometimes-adorable-but-mostly-quite-annoying children (ages 2, 5 & 10) I have been married to my partner in crime for almost 5 years and I live in the Southwest of England: land of cider, farms and not much else. I would love nothing more than to become a writer, but unfortunately I am yet to start that book I have been harping on about for the past TWO YEARS <- And the Queen of procrastination award goes to…. Oh yes, that would be MOI!


Why did you decide to start blogging?

Okay, so this might sound morbid, but 18 months ago I was, to put it bluntly, in a bit of a crappy place. I was lost, misguided and falling apart (it didn’t help that I was living in the dreaded Coventry at the time *shudder*) One day, I decided to write. I hadn’t written anything for so long, but I had this overwhelming desire to write and write until I could write no more! Writing not only helped to heal many of my wounds, but it also gave me clarity. Over time, it occurred to me, I wasn’t lost anymore. I was free …and I had a pretty awesome blog to show for it! (<- Not to blow my own trumpet or anything!) If it wasn’t for my blog and the huge amount of support I have received over the past 18 months or so, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. Cheesy, I know….but so very true! THANK YOU, GUYS! *wipes tear*


Your blog has become very successful. Has this changed your day to day life in any way?


I mean, I would like to say I get hounded with fan mail and stopped in the street, but I would be lying. Nothing much has changed really…boring, I know! However, I do get the odd person come over to me and tell me they read my blog. I then glow a bright shade of cherry tomato and scurry off embarrassed.

Random Fact: Only a few close friends know about my blog.


What one piece of advice would you give to other bloggers?

As Dory once said in Finding Nemo “Just keep swimming!” Oh no, that’s not right, I meant… Just keep writing! You’re bound to come up with something publishable at some point!

Also, never be too critical with yourself. Some of the pieces I assumed would go down like a lead balloon, actually floated higher than I could ever imagine. My most popular post to date (Dear Husband: An Unconventional Love Letter) I was close to not publishing at all because I felt it wasn’t well-written.

So, just go for it – what’s the worst that can happen?


You have written some very honest and personal posts. Did you find this difficult?

Naturally, I am a very open person. I don’t feel like I have anything to hide. However, there have been a few posts in which I found myself hovering over the ‘publish’ button for a good half an hour before mustering up the courage to press. One of those posts was:I love you, but I don’t like you: A story of fractured bonds and motherly guilt. This was my most personal post to date. I really opened up and allowed my thoughts to run free. I couldn’t have received a better response from my readers. It was the first time I had been left both speechless and overwhelmed by everyone’s understanding and generosity. The positive response from my post has opened doors for me to continue to write more open and honest posts in future. It feels so liberating to be able to share myself so openly with everyone and not be judged. I have so much respect for all of my readers. Not to sound too hippy, but they have touched my heart in so many ways. I couldn’t be more blessed. I’m a very lucky girl!


Okay. That was too serious a question. Let’s lighten things up: are you a girly-girl or the more outdoorsy type?

The outdoorsy type?!  *cackles uncontrollably*

I couldn’t be further from the outdoorsy type. My husband would describe me as ‘high maintenance’ but I would say I’m more of a girly-girl. I love make up to the point that if my husband ever left me, I’d probably marry it (Okay that sounded a bit extreme….but I do adore it!) …and the thought of dating again *shudder* sends me into hot sweat!

I also have a slightly unhealthy obsession with nail varnish and pretty much own every colour of the rainbow! So, I’d have to marry my nail varnish collection too!

…Is that even legit?

Apart from one pretty traumatic experience at Glastonbury festival involving over-flowing porter-loos, hippy tea and enough mud to build a mud city…

(Source: www.dumb.com)

…you wouldn’t catch me camping EVER! I mean, where would I plug my hair straighteners? A tree? And how am I supposed to climb mountains in heels? Nah. It just isn’t me! I’d choose makeup, heels and bags over hiking boots, oversized backpacks and….eeerrr….mosquito bites, any day!

You’re a mother. What’s the best piece of parenting advice you’ve ever received?

When parenthood becomes overwhelming, lock yourself in a cupboard with a strong drink and pretend everything is AAAAAAAAA-Okay! I’m kidding, of course. The most important thing is to love your children unconditionally, no matter how much they make you want to rock back and forth in an under-stair cupboard. Never underestimated love.


Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do to overcome it?

Now and then my brain will shoot blanks. Rather than panic, I take some much-needed time off from writing and allow my ideas to reform. After a few weeks, I find that my head is so cram-packed with ideas it is ready to POP! That wasn’t meant to sound sexual at all. Honest!


Curveball: Are Jaffa Cakes biscuits or cakes?

I would say…. They are biscakes! (<- see what I did there!)


What do you do to unwind after a long day?

I usually run a bubble bath, pour myself a glass of wine, put my headphones in and fantasise about being anywhere but dreary old England. Other times, I’ll light some joss-sticks and meditate to the sound of panpipes and whales singing. Okay…one of the previous statements was, in fact, a lie… I’ll leave you guys to figure that out.


And now for some weird questions…

Who would you rather go clubbing with: Hillary Clinton or Michelle Obama?

I reckon Michelle Obama would be a complete party animal after a few sparkling wines…therefore, I’d have to choose her to go clubbing with her.

Hillary Clinton, I have her down as a more hot cocoa-drinking, sheepskin slipper-wearing and bed at an appropriate hour, kind of girl.

OH MY GOSH! I’m turning into Hillary Clinton, aren’t I? *shudder*


If you could have be any kind of shark, which would you choose?

Umm, there’s different breeds of sharks? I thought a shark was a shark… *Googles* Okay, according to Wikipedia there are 509 species of shark… waaaaay too many to choose from! Can I just say Sharky from Sharky and George? (Remember that awesome TV show?) I mean, what other shark wears a Panama hat?

(Source: www.youtube.com)

If you had the power of invisibility, would you rob a bank?

Of course not, I would never do such a thing! I’d be too busy doing other awesome things like hanging out in the male changing rooms *Coughs* Nah, I probably would rob the bank … I could do with a nice new handbag and wardrobe to match! I meant… I would give it to charity, obviously!


You get the chance to appear on a tacky reality TV show for a lot of money…do you take it?

It depends how much I would get paid and which reality TV show it was. I can’t sing to save my life, so X-Factor would be out of the question….*thinks about past contestants* ..or maybe not? I haven’t got any outstanding talents… I mean, I can’t spin plates with my eyes closed whilst doing the splits and yodelling, nor can I eat one hundred pork pies in one sitting…so, Britain’s Got Talent isalso out of the question. And given my dislike for the wilderness, you wouldn’t catch me eating bugs in the jungle…forget that! I’m not remotely a celebrity…but get me freaken out of here! So…. Big Brother it is!

Perhaps I’ll audition for next year?

pig fly

(source: http://paulstudentstories.blogspot.co.uk/)

Janey, it has been a pleasure! Thank you so much for inviting me to sit on the Hot Seat… I can officially say… This seat is HOT…or perhaps it’s just me, having a hot flush?! Or maybe it’s these glaring studio lights? (We’re in a studio, right?) Either way, I’m glad I brought that ice pack!

*Stumbles off stage tipsily holding an icepack to her backside*

Thank you so much Amanda! What a fun interview this was. I’m off to listen to panpipes and whales because, frankly, that sounds amazing.